Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thinspiration, or thanks Tiff. Again.

My dear friend Tiffany has become quite the force to be reckoned with.
A former Weekender staff, she is practically my evil twin. The alabaster princess, if you will, to my fake-bake tan.
{Photo taken May 2008 before she moved across the Keystone.}

She was also once my greatest ally in The Land of Fries - we've shared regular cut, crinkly and waffle from one end of Northeastern Pa. to the other, and enjoyed every last crispy one.

She has since moved to Pittsburgh and we are doing a little weight loss challenge with each other. Mostly, the challenge just consists of us supporting each other via e-mail and the occasional frantic "I'm pigging out" phone call (mostly on my end).

She's become quite the inspiration to me - or "thinspiration" as we like to say.
She's running like a freak on the treadmill and looking all sorts of fantastic for her October wedding, and I am so proud of her - and terribly jealous.

I'll do well for a while, and then work will get hectic and I'll get exhausted and stop. It's a well-documented fact that I don't like to exercise as much as I like to eat garbage food. It's also well documented right here in Ramblings on ... (unfortunately that's not enough of a reason to seriously stick with it.)

But today, Tiff really gave it to me and demanded that I give myself new goals to not lose sight of how far I've come these past few months - and I have.

I am posting them here.
I am taping them to my medicine cabinet, to my fridge and just about every where so there will be no hiding from them.

Now through my birthday (June 10):
-- 30 minutes on Air Climber with 15 minutes of the arm bands three times a week - with one of those times using the AC's accompanying DVD I haven't even opened yet.
-- Walk/speed walk/intervals on off days PLUS Windsor Pilates and/or SELF yoga.

So to Tiffany, who is now my greatest ally in the Land of our Future Skinny Bodies, I vow to not have any more "Help me" e-mails or phone calls. I ban fries and chips from my vicinity. Once. And. For. All.

40 days from now I will be thinner. I will be stronger. I will be proud of myself. And I will wear my black sexy dress to my birthday dinner - and all damn summer long until it's too damn big on me!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I hope I don't give myself a nosebleed in excitement!

I have been so ugh all week - it's just been crazy busy.
{And I may or may not have been a teeny, tiny bit of a bitch today.}
But I am bursting at the seams in excitement for this weekend. I kind of resemble a 12-week-old Labrador puppy.

I'll be taking a gloriously rare day off on Friday and heading to the City of Brotherly Love - Philadelphia to non-Pennsylvanians.
I've only really been to the heart of the city twice, and for very short amounts of time, including one when I was in 8th grade.
I'm definitely much more of a New York City kinda girl. Don't hate.
{Speaking of hate, if I hear one person chant "E-A-G-L-E-S" I'll counter with a "S-T-E-E-L-E-R-S." We've got the six rings bitches!}
steelers Pictures, Images and Photos
My weekend will consist of:
- The Dead at the Spectrum. I can feel so strongly that I'll hear my all-time favorite song "Sugar Magnolia" that my tooth hurts. And believe you me, I will dance like I'm dancing in a ring around the sun.
gd2 Pictures, Images and Photos
- A Philly cheesesteak. From Geno's because I will be ordering in English. And because it's been featured on every food show I've ever seen about Philly.
- A tequila bar - and its Southwestern wrap. {Of course I already cased the menu, what kind of foodie do you think I am?}
- Lewis & Clarke playing in a church which I am hoping I will have some sort of eye-opening transcendental epiphany that will change my life. If I don't, I think there may be no saving my soul. {Listen to them, you'll see what I mean:}

I hope it all plays out like I want it to.
I tend to have make events so much more spectacular in my head than they could ever be, meaning I expect a lot, and then kind of disappoint myself.
But knowing is half the battle, according to the old "G.I. Joe" cartoon I so loved as a tomboy.
G.I. Joe Pictures, Images and Photos
If I get myself so excited, at least I have something(s) to be excited about, right? Some people don't let themselves look forward to anything.
I'm happy I can look forward to what I have planned - and what I don't.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I daresay I'm unpleaseable.

I have a few previous blogs I've written about how frigid my apartment can be.
I'd now like to add how sweltering said dwelling can be as well.

84 degrees to be exact.
I have a fine mist of perspiration on my brow - OK, I cannot tell a lie, over pretty much most of my epidermis.

I think I made a promise to not complain about warm temperatures once they arrived because I was so sick of paying an astronomical heat bill - and never, ever being warm.

I'm not retracting that promise, I'm merely just stating the obvious.
And it's only April.
Mon dieu!
THERMOMETER Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Five Friday haiku.

Wrote a few haiku outside the Greek food festival yesterday.
Perched myself right on the side of the steps and whipped out the notebook I keep in my purse at all times.
{Only felt a little weird that it wasn't the Official Orange Haiku/Tanka Notebook I usually write it, but somehow worked past my anal retentiveness. If I had a therapist, I'm sure this would be something he/she would commend me for.}

But I digress, here are the five of them:

Belly full of Greek
food, rich in its tradition,
tastes like motherland.

Balloons blue and white
flutter in the wind so free -
a celebration.

Stained-glass reflecting
majestically on a wall
simple abstract art.

Ant crawling on me
like some sort of super-sized
amusement park thrill.

Building of broken
bricks sitting like a fortress
home for the homeless.

{P.S.: I ate three grape leaves, spanakopita and baklava, in that order, all by myself. And yes, it was as exquisite as I expected.}

Friday, April 24, 2009

All Greek to me.

Moments away from going to a Greek food festival where I plan on having baklava, grape leaves and moussaka.
Maybe in that order, maybe not.

Oh Lord how I cannot wait!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A few haiku from Easter.

Easter Sunday, I took a hike at my "country haus" with camera in tow to shoot Inspiring Woods Photos.
Hoped to see some sort of feral creature, like a chupacabra or something, but sadly, did not.

My slow-ass dial-up takes three years off my life to upload, but I finally got all the photos up.
Here are three so far and their accompanying haiku.
(The third one is amateurish at best, but it kind of grew on me ... just had a horrid thought, what if they're all amateurish and you're all laughing at me?
I will be brave and take the chance. Gulp.)

More to follow anyhow.


No more students learn
in this abandoned kindling
that longs for a marm.


Pumpkins once grew here
orange orbs I could barely lift,
now field lies in wait.


Who calls this nook home?
A nut collector? Hobbit?
I would like me to.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Farewell, Mrs. Parker (Subtitle: Next on my reading list)

At long last, I finished "The Portable Dorothy Parker" this morning.
It's chockablock full of purple highlighted lines - many of them her razor-sharp and sometimes acerbic witty one-liners, many lines just absolutely brilliant I had to read them aloud and relish the way they rolled off my lips.

It took a long time to close the book on her, and I feel changed after reading her.
I wish I lived during that time when journalists were infamous celebrities - and not just because I am a journalist myself.

It seems so much better to ready splashy tabloids about drunken witty writers than whorish no-talent "actresses" and "actors," does it not?

Next on my nightstand:

- Finish the partially started "On the Road with Bob Dylan" by Larry "Ratso" Sloman.
- Follow that with "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand.

And with that, Mr. Dylan and I have a date on my freshly cleaned back porch.
I love spring Sundays at home!

Friday, April 17, 2009

"I don't mind a reasonable amount of trouble."


I saw my very first Humphrey Bogart movie tonight.

Being a classic movie buff, I've always known he was one of the rare breeds, up there with Cary Grant, my beloved Steve McQueen, Paul Newman.
An actor who melts into each character, so it doesn't appear he's acting, and makes you root for him, no matter what kind of dirty deeds he gets into.

Bogart as Sam Spade in "The Maltese Falcon" was just that.
This black and white gem was exquisite.
Not only does it take place in one of my favorite cities on earth (San Francisco), but it was non-stop suspense right to the very last second when he utters that line that is now legendary - and a pretty commonplace phrase:

"It's the stuff dreams are made of."

I love when actors, especially in classic, noir-type films such as this, smoke.
Now, I don't miss smoking - I quit in January 2008 - at all when I'm having a few drinks. I miss it only when I'm watching people in movies smoke. The way the smoke curls around them like it's an extra. How it's used as a prop. God, it's sexy as hell.
maltese falcon Pictures, Images and Photos
This had some great lines, like the title of this blog, and the one above. Bogart had a hell of a way with delivery - and a hell of a persona. Being such a movie fan, I feel guilty I've not been introduced to him sooner. We've got a lot of time to make up for he and I.

Men - all men - really need to go back to the days where they would wear suits - especially well-cut double breasted ones - no matter what ... with an overcoat ... and hats at all times when out in public. Mmm.

More men would get a reasonable amount of trouble from me, me thinks ... nudge, nudge, wink, wink

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Man in red hat walking.

Every day you walk
(while I can barely Air Climb)
You struggle each step,
and seem like the kindest man
as you keep smiling, despite.

On my constitutional this evening, I passed him.
He was going the same way through the neighborhood, as always with his cloth grocery bags dangling from his metal crutches.

I've seen him a million times.
Walking to the grocery store, back up the sizable steep hill to wherever he lives with his parcels.
Even though you can tell he sometimes has a hard time of it, there he is. In his red hat, walking.

I once worked a part time job on his walking route, and he passed as I was wiping the window.
We made eye contact, and he smiled a heartbreakingly sweet smile, and I smiled and waved, and then he was out of eye shot.

I'd seen him before, of course, and he always reminded me a little of Mario from "Super Mario Brothers."

Tonight was the first time our walking paths intertwined.

"Good evening," I said as I passed, as I say to everyone I pass.
"Good evening," he responded, smiling.

I asked him how he was and he answered "Good," and asked how I was.

I had so many things I wanted to say to him, to ask him.
What his name was. Where he lives so I could know just how far he walks. About his life. What he buys at the grocery store. What his day-to-day operations are.

Instead, I replied, "Good," with a smile of my own, and our paths uncrossed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I don't drive ... 20.

Three times today I was behind three different cars going - I shit you not - 20 mph.
20 mph Pictures, Images and Photos
I am not an athletic person by any means, no matter how long I stay on my Air Climber, but I am God damn sure that I could have ran faster than those ass pirates had me driving today. I daresay the Bitch pod nearly went into shock at the slowness!

I don't know if that same God whose name I just blatantly took in vain was trying to teach me a lesson by planting those three people in front of me - to protect me from an accident, perhaps? - but instead of teaching me patience, I nearly had a stroke from anger.

The things that came out of my mouth were impressive, and almost in tongues.
I think it's high time I get a chauffeur because one of these days, my rage is going to get me in trouble.

Any takers?
I can't pay you, but I'll definitely let you drive the pod ...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Well, after being so damn proud of myself for finally wearing my favorite jeans ever, I have done nothing but pig out.

For example:

- Ate around the clock whilst at my parents for Easter: Huge breakfast. Chocolate (which I gave up for Lent, so I've been trying to resist the urge to binge on the several Cadbury Creme eggs in my cupboard and freezer). Snacks a plenty, namely chips and dip. Dinner consisted of a crab appetizer, a salad and Mom's eggplant parm and minesta, which I actually had to push away half eaten because I was starting to feel sick - but not enough that I couldn't have a slice of the chocolate cake that followed. WTF?
(I get an A for effort because it really was just a small piece, right?)

- Yesterday, got up nice and early and banged out 20 hardcore minutes on the Air Climber and decided to start tracking my food again a la Weight Watchers to get back in the swing of things. Did well all day, until ...

- 10 ranch wings from Andy Gavin's which we as exquisite as you might expect. Plus a mozzarella stick sampler (regular, pizza and buffalo), an ice cold beer and

- A s'mores gelati from Rita's, which was nothing more than marshmallow ice dotted with chocolate chips. Mmm. Can only imagine how many points it was.

Feel even more disgusting than I already did now that all of yesterday's food is right there in black and white.

Think I'll refrain from continuing with today's food list.
It's just so hard for me to be strong when I feel the slightest big stressed or tired or dreary because it's ugly out.

Am determined to get right back track and do the Air Climber tomorrow morning and, damn you, before dinner.
I vow to track.
I vow to be strong.
I vow to be better to myself.

I've come too far to just go hog wild, for lack of a better term.
Help me - How do you push through the temptations?

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Friday night I did something I haven't done since 2003.

I wore my favorite jeans.

They fit.
I could sit.
Not one part of them was uncomfortable.
And gosh damn if they aren't the perfect flare leg.

Reaching this goal was as fantastic as I knew it would be.

Here's to the next milestone, self.
Let's make it the sexy black McClintock dress, shall we?

Game on!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Long shadows and gunpowder eyes.

Blasting Neko Case's "Middle Cyclone."
Despite its "long shadows and gunpowder eyes,"* it makes me happy.
Comforts me.

Just as I'm comforted by this day that is seemingly getting brighter than the dreary morn I woke up to.

The rainy day's drear
slowly drips from the wires
going house to house,
our only connection save
for a curt nod, or nothing.

* A delicious line from my favorite song on the album, "Prison Girls."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lucky girl.

No matter what's going on in my life, or the world, as long as I have these four people, I can make it through anything.
{Roosters. Charlotte. September 2008.}

My family, made up of a Pennsylvania chapter and a North Carolina chapter, is pretty damn wonderful. Sure we're sometimes ridiculous and dysfunctional, but show me a family who isn't. I'll show you a family who doesn't exist after a 22-minute episode is over.

I could go on all day about them (and it still wouldn't be long enough), but right now I want to focus on my brother, Michael. Six years my senior, he's been my sage since the day I was born.*
{Roosters. Charlotte. September 2008.}

I've been pretty down in the dumps recently, and after playing phone tag, Michael and I finally connected tonight for a brief but profound conversation. He said nothing I didn't already say and journal myself, but coming from him, My Big Brother, the world suddenly spun correctly on its axis for the first time in eons.

Do they have to go to Big Brother School to learn these things, or does it just come naturally when you have a Baby Sister who's in need?

* Even though he tried to kill me at least seven times during my lifetime, facts he vehemently denies, but I have them all on record. As do the authorities, should he feel the need to try for an eighth.

A Thursday in April.

Wrote three tanka and five haiku this evening, including

Reflected in a
window looking into night
she ponders it all.


Light grows darker twixt
the neighboring homes - a glance
upward shows a plane
silouetted against a
still most azure-cream puff sky.

Things I want accomplish, sooner than later:
- Be a calmer, kinder and gentler person in action and thought.
- Wear bright red lipstick/gloss, and not stop searching for the perfect one until I find it.
- Be bold and paint my stubby fingernails the slut red color my toes always are and seize my long fingers.
- Continue being organized. I've done remarkably this week if I do say so myself.
{Kindly never you mind the clean laundry from Sunday still not put away yet on the spare bed behind me.}
- Finish that bloody Dorothy Parker book already so I can at long last finally start "The Fountainhead."
- Know when it's time to back away from the computer to curl up with Celestial Seasoning's Sleepytime tea because the apartment is freezing.

I've been in my jammies since 5:30 p.m. and it's be rad.
{I've had my hoodie hood up since about 7 p.m.}

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Finally sleep, or I was so out I had a terrible dream about my hair. Or lack thereof.

Last night, it was lights out promptly at 10 p.m.
Actually got under the covers at 9:30 to curl up with "On the Road with Bob Dylan" by Larry "Ratso" Sloman.
Took a sleep aid at quarter to 10, and that was it.

Nine hours later, I was jostled awake by my alarm, which very rarely happens.
It was glorious.
Sometimes my body just needs to shut itself down during one of these insomniac cycles, and I totally live for those nights.
Especially considering that, if I can remember them, I have some pretty far-out dreams.

I fully know that one of the worst stories someone could tell another person (aside from a detailed birth or something) is a dream. Unless it directly involves someone, who the F cares, right?

Having said that, it isn't stopping me from sharing my dream:

I was standing on the sidelines of a football game in Alabama, I think, with a friend. It was so bloody hot. I had my hair up in a ponytail and decided to give myself a trim during a break in play. Took the scissors and SNIP!
scissors hair Pictures, Images and Photos
I tried to clip my hair back on to be "fashionable," but it wouldn't work so I asked my friend to help and he was staring at me, aghast.

"I think you need to look in the mirror," he said and pointed to this huge gold-gilded mirror that just happened to be hanging from the punter's practice net.

I kept running my fingers through my hair, which suddenly felt like a buzz cut hairdo - which is exactly what I somehow had done to myself.

I was horrified and began running around frantic, because seriously, we all know damn well that a women's hair is her crowning glory, or whatever way the saying goes.

So I run across the field in search of my mother, who is the only person who can make it right, but I have no idea where she is in this Alabama town, I just have to follow instinct.

BEEEEP - just a I was about to have a heart attack in the middle of a brick-housed neighborhood, my alarm goes off and damned if I don't run straight to the bathroom to check my hair.

It was all accounted for, thank God.
But I sure as hell kept checking on it all day today.
And was very wary of anyone using scissors in my vicinity.
who wants a hair cut? Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, April 6, 2009

Creature of the night.

I am about six days into a horrid bout of insomnia.
This is the worst I think I've ever been.
clock Pictures, Images and Photos
Last night, like most nights, those red digits were my worst enemy.
I slept for maybe half an hour.

Never mind that that half hour included a dream that was sexual in nature with - and I feel ashamed to even relay this - the Dalai Lama, who for some reason was in a glass case.
It also involved one Katie Holmes.
(The insomnia must be eating my brain one cell at a time.)

I am sitting here without a thought in my head - like I've got nothing left, especially after the crazy high-pressure day at work today. Probably because I don't.

And to top it off, I am mad craving coffee ice cream for the second day in a row, a flavor I'm not particularly fond of.
Ice Cream Cone Coffee Chocolate Pictures, Images and Photos

What - and who - the hell am I turning into?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Umbrella update.

{I did eventually pick up the umbrella from yesterday.
It would be my luck for one of the metal spokes to pierce one of the Bitch Pod's tires, and not even my creativity is worth that, especially considering that the Pod has a size of tires that's virtually non-existent (read: expensive).
I didn't have the heart to fully throw it in the rubbish bin, though - it now resides under my stairs in a garbage can I never use.
I think it will be most happy there. Especially since the rain will still hit it and it will feel like it's not completely handicapped in nature.}

Sad little umbrella ...

Sundays in the country.


Just around the bend,
is a place of truest love -
my home, sweet sweet home.
Surrounded by countryside,
it is the one place I'm

Lately, the strife in my life has made going home sweet home all the more sweet.
It's nice knowing I can go there and let the guard no one ever gets to see down, down.

Today was just one of those perfect days.
The sun was blinding as it reflected off the pond, as it dried my clothes out on the line, as it blasted into the orange kitchen brilliantly.
The wine, music, laughter and food were great (as always), and knowing I am loved unconditionally is a hell of a pick-me-up.

family quotes Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sad little umbrella.

Couldn't stop thinking about that twirling umbrella last night.
When I put up my bedroom shades this a.m., I wondered what became of it.

Lo and behold, it came to rest just at the end of my landlord's driveway!
It was almost as if it had been waiting for me to take the picture I so wanted to last night.
It now lays mangled in the street, but I don't have the heart to rescue it. Putting it in the trash seems so much more unpoetic than letting it be a splash of various teals against the concrete street.

I think it would have wanted to go out like a martyr for umbrelladom. I'm comforted knowing I saw it have its last dance in the wind last night. Like we shared something. I can learn a lot from that old accessory.

Broken old umbrella,
no use for you anymore -
who will protect you?


Friday, April 3, 2009

Ramblings on rambles on.

Sitting here deliciously half blitzed from two vodka-heavy martinis.
I love how I get that teeny bit lit and all of a sudden I feel like Doing Things.

Like organizing my home desk at last. And making my calendar kosher with my day planner, which I just updated yesterday. Never mind that I never look at said planner because I fully believe in the sticky system and/or e-mailing myself reminders, but I will feel more Efficient if I do so. Post it notes Pictures, Images and Photos

Switching Gears

It is so windy here in Northeastern Pa. tonight.
It was a crazy day of darkness, sunlight, pouring rain, misty rain and wind on and off. Seeing such black black skies against sunlight made me think it was the end of the world or something.

The house was rattling so much before that I cautiously peeked out through the blinds to see if houses were flying about.

Instead I saw something gorgeous: an abandoned umbrella dancing in the wind.
It was like that plastic bag that the creepy hot kid next door in "American Beauty" filmed.
If I felt like putting my galoshes back on, I would have gone out and taken video of it to share.
Instead, use your imagination.

Switching Gears

Sometimes I get so angry I just want to scream.
Or break a pencil, if I used pencils and not solely blue PaperMate pens.
Broken Pencil Pictures, Images and Photos
I chalk it up to being Sicilian. Or psycho. I'll go with the former, thank you kindly.

Switching Gears

Sometimes I think I'll never get it together - then I remember that nobody has their shit together. And if they do, they're a God damn liar. That's comforting.

Switching Gears

It's safe to say that I think about food way too much, and exercise way to little for how much I like to eat.

Switching Gears

I hate being an insomniac. The worst part is I just lay in bed waiting for sleep to come, instead of getting up and reading or writing.

OK, now about that calendar project.
It's an Anne Taintor joint.
I shall leave you with April's fitting quip, as I got blonder just last night.

Anne Taintor Staying Blonde Retro Vintage Pictures, Images and Photos

Rainy night haiku.

"Dark and stormy night" -
my loneliness is cliched
just like that damn line.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Num num.

Rice pudding.
Lots of cinnamon.
Fresh ripe strawberries.
Whipped cream.

Such good combination I licked the bowl.
{and I'd do it again if that wasn't the last damn rice pudding cup!}

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sane person of a solitary nature.

"She talked to herself often, a habit of sane persons of a solitary nature."
~~ Truman Capote

Once, when I was a young Nikki, my father walked past my bedroom and heard the chattering of many voices.

He asked Mom if I had friends over and she shook her head, to which he then inquired who the hell was in my room with me, concerned about his precious youngest child.

“It’s just her playing with her Barbies,” Mom answered, proud that her daughter was so brilliantly imaginative and creative.*

Puzzled, my dad peeked in on me, and sure enough there I was happy as a clam in my imagination. I always gave my toys different voices as I played, and I could sit there for hours concocting story lines for them.

I guess you could say that I was talking to myself - something I still do, which I realized the other morning as I blabbered on about the strawberries I was cutting for my cereal.

{Blogger's clarification: I live alone. And I love - live even - to talk.}

I've always been able to entertain myself, be it lose myself in a book, my journal or just my imagination.

Is that weird? I'd like to think not - well maybe just a little. But I guess all creative people are a bit daft ...

*This is by no means an assumption ... my darling mother has admitted such on several occasions ... and not all of them were at my insisting at gunpoint.